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Showing posts from February, 2011

shark, jumped: more thoughts on old tv

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Oh, Big Love , where did our love go? In seasons one through three you were so poignant—a perfect family drama times three families. But now (meaning about a year ago, since AK and I just finished watching season four on DVD) it’s like you’re running downhill and your body is moving faster than your legs. A similar thing happened in the final throes of The L Word , except whereas The L Word at best was a bad show with some good moments, you were once an amazing show (with a little more Juniper Creek than was sometimes necessary). On Facebook someone referred to season four jumping the shark , and at first I thought she must have meant the scene where Bill’s mom chops off Hollis Greene’s arm in B-movie glory down at the Mexican bird-smuggling compound. But after watching the season finale last night, I’m pretty sure she meant the plotline where JJ Walker, Nicki’s ex-husband/stepfather (‘cause that’s how Juniper Creek rolls), runs a secret eugenics program that involves impregnating wo

reviews of some stuff that everyone else saw at least a year ago

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I’m taking some sick time right now, but it’s the kind of sick where I can’t really get away with not checking my work email, and, clearly, I’m well enough to blog. There’s a big stack of books next to my bed, but mostly I’ve watched a lot of DVDs. Cyrus is a fascinating study of nice people with no boundaries. “They’re way too enmeshed” is how AK described the characters. Now that she’s a grad student in psychology, she has all sorts of diagnoses for our pop culture friends (and a few for our real ones…but not you, of course. You are 100 percent well adjusted). Easy A has an endearing cast and some funny moments, but Emma Stone is just too charming and confident to be believable as a victim of any high school rumor mill. The whole thing has that scrubbed, over-saturated quality of sitcoms; if it were just a little more absurd, it would be like an episode of Glee or Popular, and I’d be down with it, but the movie has just enough nods to realism to draw attention to its over

how dare you not be hot

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Reading this post by Sizzle , which was a response to this post on The Stranger’s SLOG, got me thinking about the male gaze. It’s nothing new. It’s so not new that some feminists have refuted Laura Mulvey ’s original theory, or so the hippest feminist in my queer books class told me in grad school, when I thought I was pretty hip for bringing up Laura Mulvey in the first place. But damn, it’s still powerful. The other day Jamie and I were talking, as we do, about getting older, and how the world looks at you differently, especially if you happen to be a woman. Since giving birth, she’s been conscious of the ramifications of losing one’s looks (although she hasn’t lost her looks at all. She’s a textbook MILF, although not a mom I’d like to eff because, among other reasons, I’m her boss). But why should I have to add that she hasn’t lost her looks? Why does not being youthfully hot have to equal cultural damnation? I told her I’ve been noticing how women lose currency whe

more sesame street, less burning man

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I think Robbie Q. Telfer has a kindred spirit in Reggie Watts , whom AK and I and our sisters saw open for Garfunkel & Oates at Largo last night. I mean, they’re totally different—Robbie Q. is a spoken word guy and Reggie Watts is an all-kinds-of-sounds guy, but they both defy categorization (though I realize I just categorized them) and get me thinking about what performance can be. Watts is a beat-boxer, looping machine guru, singer, piano player and comedian. I can’t begin to describe how he blends all of those talents, but he does, seamlessly yet schizophrenically. One minute he sounds like an old soul musician, the next he’s giving a nonsensical report on “tech futures” in a nerdy executive voice. He uses every part of his body, from his voice box to his doughy hips to his massive Afro and, well, is there such thing as a beard-fro? His hair shakes goofily, and at one point he seemed to be able to move it in slow motion. My sister leaned over and said, “I keep thinking of S

faith without innocence

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I’ve been reading More Than It Hurts You by Darin Strauss, which I’m not quite done with, and thinking about innocence. One of the main characters, Josh, is this charming thirty-something ad salesman who tries to see the good in every person he meets. He’s not one of those smarmy used-car-type salesmen: Like all really good salespeople, he believes what he’s saying. He prides himself on noticing little details about people, a quality Strauss must share because he’s so good at documenting the minutia of human interactions that, in the time I’ve been reading the book, I feel like I’ve become a way better writer. It’s like Strauss’ prose is this electric current I can tap into. But whereas Strauss is interested in swinging his flashlight beam into the dark corners of our souls, Josh is not. Despite his keen observances, he also prides himself on knowing just enough to get by when it comes to many subjects and situations. The wrong kind of details muck up the smooth clockwork of life

what i read in january

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Some months I want to give everything I read a solid B. January was not one of those months. Here are my three fascinations (not counting The False Friend , which I loooved and already told you about) and one hate. Room by Emma Donoghue: You might think an entire book narrated by a five-year-old would be precious and grating, but Emma Donoghue pulls it off. She's also written a thriller with a simple premise: boy and mother trapped in a room; he's never known anything else, but she wants a realer life for both of them. It's completely addictive, suspenseful, sweet and funny, with lovely fairytale allusions that prove Donoghue hasn't abandoned her Kissing the Witch inspirations. Oh, and Room also manages to muse on the meanings of consciousness, reality and self-hood in a waaaay more interesting form than most of what I read in grad school. Impossible Motherhood by Irene Vilar: I read this on the heels of A Million Little Pieces , and I found it as opposite as a m

keep austin carby and batty

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When we told our former neighbor Alyssa that we were going to Austin, she said, “Oh, you’re going to love it. You’re totally going to move there.” Work Cathy said, “I’ve never been to Austin, but when I hear the name, I just think: awesome. I know it’s going to be awesome. ” At the airport on the way home, passing T-shirts that said “Keep Austin Weird,” I asked AK, “Do you think it would be overly controversial to title my blog post ‘Austin: Not That Weird’?” Don’t get me wrong: Our trip was great, the city was fun, the people were friendly, billboards informed us you could buy a condo for $90,000, and AK’s Austin peeps showed us a good time…but there was also traffic and confusing street signage and long lines everywhere and plenty of Starbuckses and overpriced thrift stores. I couldn’t help but wonder if some of Austin’s stellar reputation came from the rest of the country’s condescendingly low expectations of Texas. The first night we Tex-Mexed it up at Chuy’s, a local